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Tesla – Supporting Electric Vehicles in China, the Supply Chains for the future

Mallory Mabe / 30th July 2014 / Comments (0)

Tesla Motors is not a traditional Automotive company, in fact Tesla takes pride in doing things its own way.  And so does Unipart.

In 2013 Tesla Motors sold in the region of 21,000 vehicles but none in China.  In 2014, off the back of a successful 2013, an increasingly strong global awareness of Tesla’s products and an opportunity to bring those products to the most rapidly expanding vehicle market in the world Tesla Motors in officially entering China.

However, as many vehicle manufacturers acknowledge entering China is not as straight forward as it sounds.

In late 2013 Tesla appointed Unipart to develop and manage the Tesla Aftermarket supply chain for China.  The challenge was to start from scratch and to build a supply chain that leveraged Uniparts know how gained since 2008 in China and to use that to create a scaleable and optimum aftermarket supply chain for a client that does things its own way.

Unipart didn’t propose nor implement an “off the shelf “ solution for Tesla, however, Unipart engineered the most appropriate elements of existing and successful China supply chains and scaled that solution for Tesla.  That solution is a supply chain that starts small – in fact a supply chain that starts before there are any vehicles on the ground in China – but one that can move product rapidly and one that can grow when required – and without much warning.

To deliver this Unipart has established joint bonded and non bonded operations for Tesla in Suzhou on the east coast of China, just outside Shanghai.  The supply chain uses existing know how, both via the use of elements of the Unipart Logistics System (ULS ) and also via staff and processes that have successfully managed the movement of large quantities of automotive product both into and within China.  The Unipart solution for Tesla in China covers import management, warehousing, customer service, transport returns management and warranty processing.

Whilst change happens rapidly in China businesses must always be mindful that results come in stages as client supply chains expand and evolve.  The Tesla China aftermarket supply chain has been designed, created, staffed and launched by Unipart through to commencement of operations in Q1 2014.  The supply chain links Fremont in California with Suzhou in China and beyond that an already expanding number of Tesla China Retailers.  Stage 1 of the Tesla China aftermarket supply chain is therefore complete as the business heads into, if other automotive clients of Unipart in China are a guide, a period of rapid supply chain growth during 2014 and 2015.  Unipart is now preparing for stages 2 and 3 of the Tesla China aftermarket supply chain development to be as successful as the first.

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